Forever in our hearts, the Jaguar XJ220 remains one of the great automotive “what-ifs.” Just 280 of these long and lean missiles emerged from Jaguar’s Oxfordshire assembly plant, and thanks to a passionate team over at Don Law Racing, most are still on the road today. Our friends over at Praemio went behind the scenes with Don Law Racing to get an unprecedented look at the state of the Jag’s first and only production hypercar.
Anyway you spin it, the XJ220 story is a sad one. Buoyed by a spate of motorsports successes, Jaguar began to create plans for an unprecedented hypercar that would wrest the speed crown from the mighty Ruf CTR. It was to have a mid-mounted V-12 spitting out tremendous power to all four wheels and a top speed that would brush 220 mph. Investors from all over the world lined up.
In the midst of the car’s development, a devastating recession hit, forcing Jaguar to make substantial changes to the powertrain. In place of the sizeable V-12, a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 from the MG Metro 6R4 Group B rally car was substituted, pushing out an impressive 540 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque and power was sent to just the rear wheels instead of all four. The car’s performance was stunning, especially for the time, with 0-60 mph arriving in 3.6 seconds and a top speed tested at 217 mph. Despite world-beating performance, potential buyers dropped like flies. In the end, Don Law claims just 280 cars were completed before the plug was pulled in 1994.
After Jaguar’s ten-year commitment to supply parts and service ended, Jaguar racing team and workshop Don Law Racing took control of the XJ220 assets, including CAD models, work manuals, spare parts, and tools. Now, it is the premier source for XJ220 service and history, with the vast majority of the running and driving XJ220s maintained and modified by the team.
In the video, we’re treated to a veritable XJ220 paradise, with every iteration of the hypercar on display. Alongside pristine, factory-fresh examples, Don Law offers extensive modifications, with power reaching up to 800 hp.
For some seriously delicious XJ220 visuals, check out the newest episode of Praemio in the video below.